labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
edge of tomorrow spoilers )

In completely unrelated news, I'm going to be in the US in October (a few days in San Francisco, New York, at least a day in Boston and a few days in Chicago) so hit me up with recs or let me know if you would like to hang! :)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
Happy New Year! You can check out my annual stuff I read last year post if you want.

In other news, Yuletide is upon us once again! I had a really really fabulous time doing Yuletide this year actually, including a couple of desperation writing parties with the Yulecops of Twitter that were both delightful social occasions and also really good at cudgeling me into action. I ended up being really proud of the thing that I wrote, not that it's necessarily all that great shakes but it was something new for me - new fandom, new pairing I'd never really thought about before, and new sensation of ... feeling like I could really see the development in my writing from my older Yuletide fic?

Dispatches (4644 words) by labellementeuse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Dorothea Callum/Nancy Blackett
Characters: Dorothea Callum, Nancy Blackett, Peggy Blackett, Titty Walker

Do come up and visit me next time you get a bit of leave. Love, Nancy.

I received two fics that I really loved in Gentleman Bastards, an incredibly tough fandom that I'm truly awed anyone could offer. The two pieces are very different, which reflects the breadth in tone of the canon and also obviously makes for a couple of awesome gifts.

a glass poured to air (1717 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Gentleman Bastard Sequence - Scott Lynch
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sabetha Belacoros/Locke Lamora, Locke Lamora/Jean Tannen
Characters: Locke Lamora, Sabetha Belacoros, Jean Tannen,
Additional Tags: Spoilers, The Republic of Thieves
Summary: Redacted for spoilers

This is very spoilery for Republic of Thieves and I don't want to cut this so I'm not going to say much more but a great follow-up to that book if you needed a breather after it. It incorporates a number of things about the Jean-Locke and Locke-Sabetha relationships that I really love and has a brief passage about one of the things I find most intriguing about Locke, his relationship with religion.

The Goddess of Suffering Scam (4266 words) by Edonohana
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Gentleman Bastard Sequence - Scott Lynch
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jean Tannen, Father Chains, Locke Lamora, Calo Sanza, Galdo Sanza
Additional Tags: Don't Have to Know Canon, No Spoilers, Con Artists

In the early days of the Gentleman Bastards, Locke impersonates a self-flagellating acolyte of the Goddess of Suffering, and Jean stands by as the muscle in case the mark catches on. You know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Completely different in tone to the other fic and yet, like the other fic, also totally like canon! This is a fun little caper fic, not at all spoilery, set during the gang's childhood/teenage years in Camorr. It's vicious, violent and fun in just the way canon can be - I particularly loved the flagellating apparatus, which fits SO seamlessly into Camorr.

For other recs, I'm still barely anywhere with my reading (I have about fifty open tabs in a special Yuletide window) but my recs I'm bookmarking on the AO3 here. I particularly commend the Rivers of London fic, which is excellent, and the Merlin Conspiracy fic, which had one thing I really disliked but was a very interesting and thoughtful fic that you definitely need to know canon for but is very rewarding if you do. I'm really impressed by people's ability to add to that canon which I think is awfully tricky.

Finally, I saw Desolation of Smaug the other day. spoilers: some positive, some negative, a fairly incoherent set of commentary bashed out the day afgter I went )

Books 2013

Jan. 1st, 2014 12:50 pm
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (misc girl reading)
First Time Reads

(These are not in order, I was slack about recording things, and I'm pretty sure I'm still missing some things.)

1-2. Mary Robinette Kowal - Shades of Milk & Honey and Glamour in Glass. These are straight-up Jane Austen pastiches with bonus magic. The first was quite charming, but the second one dragged enough that I didn't feel compelled to move on to the third. Hard to maintain the momentum when the romance plot is complete.

3. Robin Sloan - Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
I need to re-read this but what I particularly liked about this novel was a sense that it was very much written for my generation/people like me, i.e. people whose lives are well mediated by the internet. It reminded me a bit of Pattern Recognition by William Gibson - the sense of someone describing experiences that felt incredibly true to my own life in specific detail.

4-6. Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer - Sorcery & Cecelia and its two sequels
The middle one suffers from being diaries rather than letters and Sorcery & Cecilia is by far the best, but these were charming and soothing. Like Shades of Milk and Honey these are novels of manners with bonus magic; despite a dip in the second one, the third one picked up a lot of the first one's charm again.

7. Jo Walton - Among Others
Beautiful book. It reminded me a little of Diana Wynne Jones' The Merlin Conspiracy, oddly, but is probably better written. Hard to summarise in a few sentences but I loved it to pieces - it is a rural urban fantasy (if that makes sense) - I think that's what reminded me of the Merlin Conspiracy - about a young woman who gets sent away from her immediate family to attend school - but it's actually about what happened to her before that.

8-10. Ben Aaronovitch - Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground
I LOVED TO PIECES. What the Dresden Files would be if it grew up, got less sexist, five times as clever, funnier and was set in London (and really set in London, not just window-dressing).

11. Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity
MINDBLOWING. Possibly best book I've read in a few years. About the friendship between two young women in the war effort in World War II, one working for Britain's secret services and one a pilot.

12 & 13. Ellen Kushner - Swordspoint and Privilege of the Sword
On the whole I preferred Privilege to Swordspoint. Didn't find Alec or Richard sufficiently likeable in Swordspoint to really fall for them, although I thought they had a fascinating relationship. But Alec picking fights to find Richard people to kill really soured me. OTOH in Privilege Alec has mellowed a lot and I understood him much better, and Richard's relationship with Katherine was just sweet. I thought Privilege was profoundly brilliant around, well, privilege. The scene with Artemisia and her family after (extended plot spoiler) was incredibly disturbing and well-written. I guess I found the politics in that book a bit more directed and clear, so that when characters were nasty I felt it was in service of something. Whereas in Swordspoint I think the politics and their relationships to how the characters act were much less clear. Which made it a more complex book but, also, made me mad.

14. Emily M Danforth - The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Beautifully written, a really enjoyable YA novel, but didn't scratch my itch for just regular old gay protagonists.

15. Karen Healey - When We Wake
Really good fun, I'm looking forward to the sequel, but very YA without transcending the genre the way I thought, e.g., Code Name Verity did.

16. Ben Aaronovitch - Broken Homes
See what I said about the other Aaronovitch books above. I had a lot of complicated, spoilery thoughts about the ending that I should summarise in a post sometime.

17. Max Brooks - World War Z
This is very very good and compulsively readable, but once I started noticing that there were something like one or two women to every ten men, I couldn't stop.

18. Rainbow Rowell - Attachments
I liked it a lot - a fun modern(ish) (well, 90s) epistolary basically-romance. If you've read Meg Cabot's Boy Next Door books, a bit like those with slightly less romance.

19. Wil Wheaton - Just a Geek
Enjoyable enough, no complicated feelings.

20. Rainbow Rowell - Fangirl
Like Attachments, I liked this a lot, but I felt weirdly troubled by a gap in the experience, viz, where are all her internet friends for this entire book?

21. Tamora Pierce - Battle Magic
This felt very ... bitsy to me and a bit rushed. I didn't mind (as I was sort of expecting to) the bits where people went off on their own, but on the whole it felt like a book that could have been longer or possibly two books. I thought a lot of the supporting characters were not as well-drawn as Pierce's usually are - the God-King was perfect but the bloke and his twin sister (whose names I've already forgotten), despite getting a lot of screentime, I didn't really "get" them.

22. Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling - The Cuckoo's Calling - this was a really enjoyable modern crime novel, a bit Kate Atkinson-y, perhaps? I liked it.

23. Ian Tregilis - Bitter Seeds
This is the first book in a three-part World War II AU in which British blood magicians battle Nazis with various supernatural powers. It is well-written and compelling and I haaaaated it and will not be reading the rest because there was basically not a single character who was likeable by about a third of the way through. In the end the character I liked the most was a Nazi assassin (the only character in the entire book who had a moral qualm and tried to alter their actions, rather than having qualms, being very sad and drug-addicted about it, and then going ahead and doing the bad thing anyway). I have some very complicated feelings about the extent to which I have enjoyed British-based fiction about WWII. Unlike WWI I find it quite easy to buy into some fairly heroic narratives about the British during that time, which I know is not completely just; and I know that the Nazi atrocities are so horrendous and so well-documented that repeating them in fiction can be tasteless or revolting or just pointless. But, the thing is, if the actions of the British during that period are so monstrous that they begin to look like only somewhat an improvement over Hitler (partly in their treatment of British people but more significantly in their treatment of Europe), I feel like you're kind of doing it wrong.

However, if you like your characters to be extremely, extremely gray, this could be the series for you!

24. Jo Baker - Longbourn.
This is a book about a maid at Longbourn during the events of Pride and Prejudice. I have to say I really enjoyed it and it was a bit of a soothing balm after Bitter Seeds. Not quite as smart as Jane but very smart and thoughtful indeed; a bit like Downton Abbey if it was thoughtful and realist and not classist and hopeful.

25. Rainbow Rowell - Eleanor and Park
WONDERFUL BOOK! I cried. Really beautiful book about first love and also about small towns, poverty, abusive families.

26. Elizabeth Knox - Wake
This was the first Elizabeth Knox I've really really gotten alone with. I liked this book a whole hell of a lot. Creepy science fiction, John Wyndham-style but more horrifying/gory/graphic, set in a fictional town in Golden Bay - fourteen people are the sole survivors of a strange illness which causes people to become incredibly, obscenely violent. But when they try to leave, they find they can't get out. Anything more is spoilery, but I highly recommend it to people who like horror, science fiction, and genre books set in New Zealand.

27. Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay
I liked it, but having just seen Catching Fire I'm increasingly convinced that these books are books that were really destined to be and improved by becoming movies. It helps, of course, that the adaptations are really good. I can almost read every thought Katniss has off JLaw's face.

28. Pamela Dean - Tam Lin
I read this ages before the end of the year and forgot to write it down with my thoughts immediately that I'd finished. However, I liked it very much.

29. Scott Lynch - The Republic of Thieves
Another one I forgot to note down at the time. I was SO excited to finally get the new Locke book and, by and large, it lived up to expectations, with a very dramatic conclusion. Loved getting a look at Sabetha, loved all the flashbacks to the Camorr childhood, etc.

30. Matt Fraction/David Aja - Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon
Yeah, this is as good as everyone says it is, I'm excited to read the next trade. &Kate;;;

31. Meg Wolitzer - The Interestings
Really enjoyable litfic, quite immersive.

32. Donna Tartt - The Secret History
I thought I might have read this last year, but not according to last year's post. I liked it a lot.


1-5. Diana Wynne Jones - The Pinhoe Egg (and a shitload of other Chrestomanci)
6-7. The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas under Red Skies
8-11. Tamora Pierce - the Daine quartet.
12-14. Anne McCaffrey (& Jody Lynn Nye) - the Doona trilogy.
15. John Green & David Levithan - Will Grayson, Will Grayson
16-30. Just about every Vorkosigan movel.
31-33. Garth Nix - Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen (plus Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, which was in point of fact new to me)
34-40. Arthur Ransom - a shitload of Swallows and Amazon books for YT canon review
41-??. Terry Pratchett - FaustEric and then a whole lot more Pratchett that I couldn't be bothered counting

Upcoming to-read list
Beau Geste
Jerome K Jerome - 3 men on a boat
K S Robinson - Mars books
Seanan McGuire - Chimes at Midnight
Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Max Gladstone - Three Parts Dead
Wen Spencer - Tinker, A Brother's Price
Top of the Rock - Warren Littlefield
Robopocalypse - Daniel H Wilson
The Girl who Fell to Earth - Sophia al-Maria
Ken Dryden - The Game
The Revolution was Televised
Jo Walton - Farthing series
Les Miserables
London Falling - Paul Cornell
The Luminaries
Henry James - What Maisie Knew
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
Libba Bray - Beauty Queens
Ann Leckie - Ancillary Justice
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (hockey generic hockey icon (Kaner))
Dear Yuletide writer, )
labellementeuse: dairine callahan with her laptop from an old cover of High Wizardry (yw geek chic(k))
Hi, dear author! First let me apologise for my appalling sign-up. I raced through it in a hasty work lunchtime just before sign-ups close, not because I'm not excited about the challenge but because I'm incredibly disorganised and just forgot. Many apologies for that. To make up for it I'll include the kinds of brief prompt descriptions I would have included in my sign-up as well as more extended thoughts here.

My usual challenge preamble: It's really important to me that you have fun with the exchange, so please treat my requests with exactly the degree of attentiveness that you need for a good experience, and no more. If what I say below bugs you or is going to, like, mess with your creative impulses, feel free to ignore it: if I requested it, I will pretty much read absolutely anything. With this in mind, if my, uh, fabulously detailed prompts of "fandom and a couple of characters" have already inspired you: go for your life.

But if you're like me, you probably need more information. I like a nice thorough letter, so I write my letter with people like me in mind (i.e. it's ridiculously detailed). It's in two parts: general stuff about my likes and dislikes, and specific stuff about my fandoms. Feel free to read any of it, part of it, or none.

me me me )

Protector of the Small )

The Changeover )

Young Wizards )

I hope this isn't too detailed and doesn't drive you crazy. Please feel free to contact me in the appropriate anonymised ways if you need more or less information. <3 And HAVE FUN!
labellementeuse: A picture of parker wearing square-framed hipster glasses. (lev i make passes at girls who wear glas)
DID YOU KNOW the AO3 has an Original Slash freeform tag which in practise though not technically functions as a fandom tag; but that the Original Femslash tag has been merged into "femslash"?

All I wanted was a femslash romance that wasn't in some anime fandom I've never heard of :( (no offense, anime fandoms I've never heard of or have heard of but know nothing about. I'm sure you're great but you're always so *dramatic* and also, very prone to the whole "Chapter 28/49" thing.)
labellementeuse: britta from Community with a paintgun (community britta with a paint gun)
I went to see Iron Man 3 with my Marvel posse at the midnight premiere. I'll see it again, but when I did this with Batman my thoughts changed really dramatically from the first viewing to the second viewing, so I wanted to get some of it down on electrons. For other aspects, I recommend you to this post on Tony, Pepper, and keeping tension in established relationships, which I really liked.

'ware spoilers )
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
What are you currently reading?

I just started Karen Healey's When We Wake, which I've been meaning to get around to for a fortnight or so. I feel like everyone knows what this is book is about already but if not - protagonist Tegan, a teenager, is killed in Australia in 2027 and wakes up, having been cryogenically preserved and then resucitated, in Australia in 2128. That's more or less all I know so far, although being set in Australia and in the future it has some unsurprising environmental themes handled with reasonable deftness. It's fairly gripping; although the setting is less to my taste than Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering, I feel like you can really see a development in her writing since then.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished two re-reads. First Gaelyn Gordon's Prudence M Muggeridge, Damp Rat, which is a wonderful New Zealand children's book. The titular Prudence is being raised in complete isolation from society (other than her brothers and the staff) in New Zealand at an indeterminate point in the future by her unbelievably wealthy and rather dotty grandmother, who has peculiar ideas about childrearing. She runs away. It's awesome. So was Gaelyn Gordon, by the way, whose works were rather seminal in my childhood, particularly Prudence and a novel called Tripswitch. She wrote fantasy that portrayed poverty and a multicultural New Zealand very well and very understatedly.

The other one was Maureen McHugh's China Mountain Zhang, a novel I wholeheartedly adore (I guess I don't really re-read novels that I hate). Another near-ish future book, this novel is set in a future post-socialist revolution and Chinese political takeover (sort of) in the USA. Which makes it sound horribly racist but it's not at all. It's a little bit like David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (EXCEPT BETTER) in that it's a study in close, deeply immersive first person of several different people whose stories connect a little. Its titular protagonist, Zhang, is an engineer, a gay man living in post-revolution New York. He is closeted in multiple ways, because he is also bi-racial but passes as Chinese due to in utero genetic manipulation. Other protagonists are Maxine, a tough ex-Army Martian colonist with a military background who meets a younger refugee and his daughter - I love Maxine because she's a Ripley-esque gender reversal of your standard ex-military gruff noble science fiction protagonist; also, she keeps goats and bees - Angel, who flies silk kites in races in New York for the pleasure of spectators, and several other characters who have smaller chapters. It's a wonderfully rich, populated world and it's so easy to get completely immersed in each character's story, completely personal.

There's a line early in the book which goes something like government is big; we are small, we slip through the cracks. My flatmate remarked that she was surprised when the big political reveal at the end of the book turned out to be "things don't happen for a reason, things happen because of how the world is at any given time"; but in a way I think that's not really a message for the reader but a message for the protagonists. The messages for the readers are much more diverse and personal, which is why I enjoy this book so much. It's not a book about The Tyranny of Socialism. It's a book about people who are just trying to negotiate the world they live in. Often, they are just as important to their own situation as the government is.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Um ... I promised Lucy that I'd read the last Wheel of Time book, but I picked it up in the bookshop today and read the blurb and realised I had no idea what any of the characters were doing. So I think I might, shamefully, just re-read the Brandon Sanderson-penned WOT books (trusting that I can remember most of the Jordan ones well enough to get by, although probably not enough to pick up all the huge mystery reveals) and then move into A Memory of Light. I'll probably want some fantasy after all this near-future science fiction, anyway.
labellementeuse: Altlivia looking up - just a really pretty picture (fringe altlivia)
So [personal profile] aworldinside and I spent yesterday watching all of the episodes of the current season of Fringe except the three that will air later this month. This is Fringe's final season; they were warned that it would be, so this is a wrap-up season. I have a few thoughts under the cut, but without being spoilery (I hope?) I will say that I think it really, really benefited from being marathoned in the same way shows like Lost have benefited from that for me.

spoilery as all get-out through 5x10 )
labellementeuse: Corey Crawford smiling at the caera (hockey congratulations on your face)
Oops, I was too slack to do recs again this year, but look! I got and gave stuff!

I received two totally adorable pieces in Yuletide this year.

Would You Like Some Lightning With Your Soup? (7440 words) by alyoraShadow
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Circle of Magic - Tamora Pierce
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Daja Kisubo, Trisana Chandler, Briar Moss, Sandrilene fa Toren

Dinner at 6 Cheeseman Street is a rather unpredictable affair.

This is a really terrific fic about Daja and the whole circle, which is fantastic since I LOVE Daja and the whole circle and I really love 6 Cheeseman Street fic. There's a really great grasp on the Circle's voices and it really stresses Tris and Daja's relationship, which is something I particularly asked for and am thrilled to read about.

Phone a Friend (1657 words) by Reading Redhead
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Young Wizards - Diane Duane
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dairine Callahan, Carmela Rodriguez

In which Carmela gets herself into a bit of a situation, and Dairine is the right person to call.

In this story Carmela gets thrown into alien prison for chocolate smuggling and Dairine has to come and rescue her, so obviously I ADORE it. It's funny and smart about their characters, and has a fantastic ultimate solution which really draws on Carmela's strengths without letting her get away with anything. I also love where C and D *are* in their life at this point, it really meshes up with my headcanon.

I also wrote a thing!

Don't be afraid to lend a hand (5407 words) by labellementeuse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Young Wizards - Diane Duane
Rating: Not Rated
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Nita Callahan/Kit Rodriguez
Characters: Nita Callahan, Kit Rodriguez, Carmela Rodriguez

"Let's go into the city," said Nita.

This is about Nita and Kit on an everyday errantry, and while I had a lovely prompt from a very nice recipient I still struggled mightily with it. On the whole I'm pleased with it - it's very long by my standards, the second-longest piece of fic I've ever written, and technically competent - but, I don't know. I don't think it adds anything new or contributes in any meaningful way to the Nita/Kit body of work, basically, and I'm starting to realise that in Young Wizards I really need to feel like I'm adding something or I can't get into it. I think the problem may have been that I didn't do a canon review this year and was just like, oh I know this fandom back to front, which of course just trapped me into writing something I thought was repetitive. So next year I think I'll try to take a few more risks. (Someone remind me of this?)

I did have a wonderful suite of betas who dropped everything at the eleventh hour to help me out. [personal profile] sushiflop, as usual, was very good to me for the entire month. [personal profile] archiesfrog read it in person and was extremely kind and encouraging, as was [personal profile] aworldinside. [ profile] arysteia gave me a tremendous unfamiliar-with-the-canon beta which kicked me in a few places I needed to be kicked (but I ignored her about the ellipses because I'm a rebel, sorry V). And both [ profile] chattycheese and [personal profile] shihadchick gave really thoughtful canon betas.

I beta'd some things as well! The beta process, which happens when my fic is usually posted, is often my favourite part of Yuletide because I enjoy the collaborative group-huggy feeling of it all.

A Week in the Life (3282 words) by archiesfrog - this is Kel fic! With Neal and Tobe!

Trust and Timing (2449 words) by aworldinside - This is fic for a rather cute and silly movie about young women who run relay at the thinly-disguised Olympics. I watched it in order to do this beta and I'm extremely glad I did because it's delightful! The fic itself is, of course, ALSO delightful, being the pairing I really craved in the film the whole time - funny and hot.

I have a funny feeling I've forgotten something but I can't remember what at this stage, remind me if it was you!

I did have a great Yuletide this year, much improved on last year's general emotional malaise. Thanks for making it fun with me, gang!
labellementeuse: Altlivia looking up - just a really pretty picture (fringe altlivia)
A whole bunch of New Year memes from all over the place, lumped together. I kept all the questions I had a good answer for and ditched the ones I didn't.

I'm bored of being so negative about myself so this is REALLY INTERESTING STUFF GUYS )

I've also been enjoying the reflective end of year posts I've been seeing on my flist. I've gotten to the point of feeling pretty stupid about commenting on them further with nothing much to say except "I read this, Happy New Year!" but - I'm reading them and finding you all pretty inspirational. Happy New Year. <3


Dec. 27th, 2012 09:00 pm
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (misc girl reading)
1. Merry Christmas and/or best wishes for whatever holiday you celebrate <3 I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

2. I spent my Christmas semi-camping in a valley in Wanganui. The weather was ungodly hot which was nice for three days (but couldn't have stood it much longer). It was in a funny place with two so-called cabins, one of which was really pretty nice where my parents stayed and one of which was basically a garden shed where my brother and sister and I slept (in sleeping bags on skanky mattresses on a rather dusty floor ... but mustn't grumble, and much better than tents, truly). There was a cooking area with running (but not hot) water and a solar shower which was totally exposed to the elements - which was actually sort of fun since it was just family there (and the shower was way off round the side so it's not like people were coming past all the time or anything). There was a sort of lake which you could kayak on but not swim in (I daresay swimming wouldn't have killed you, but it was kinda brown and mucky) - somewhere to swim would have improved the ambiance immensely, I must say. Anyway, for a few days it was quite fun and I didn't murder anyone and only had one everyone-crying miserable fight with my mother, which is pretty good for us. We all read a lot and played a bunch of cards (completely shockingly considering my family, we're actually pretty good at not fighting over cards).

We did have a little bit of excitement. On Christmas day the running water stopped running. It later transpired that the line that ran to fill the tank had had a break in it and so we'd run down the tank and it hadn't got refilled. This was a bit of a test for everyone as it involved rather a lot of water conservation (the shower was still running and we used this to fill a lot of water bottles, the kettle, etc. And flushed the loo with lake water).

Then on the day we were supposed to leave, we packed everything up, and Dad took Mum and Helen (staying with us, had her own car) up to Helen's car. Now the valley we were staying in was reachable only by a narrow and rather slippy dirt road, which was fine when we came down because it had been dry. However, when Dad had gotten up there it began to BUCKET down, and H and F and I were all still in the valley with our stuff. We hung out and played cards for awhile - I got crushed at P&A, a game I used to be unbeatable at :( - until the guy who runs the cabins came roaring down on a quad bike and picked us and our stuff up (took two goes). This journey was sliiightly terrifying, sitting on the back of a quad bike (having just read that health and safety report that went on about how dangerous they are) clinging onto my stuff AND the bike and fairly ROARING up some steep and muddy hills in a pine forest - not on the track, because that would have been too slippery. When it was over it was quite fun, but fairly scary doing it.

3. I stocked up my Kindle intensely in preparation, but ended up mostly binge-re-reading Chrestomanci books. I did read Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal. These are professionally published Austen fanfic with the serial numbers filed off in a with-magic AU. (NB: I'm not sure whether they were ever published as fanfiction, but I would assume so after this series of tweets:


The magic is called "glamour" and is confined to various visual, auditory and olfactory illusions (they can also do hot and cold, but it's implied that these are very difficult and take a lot of energy). It's also considered to be mostly a female art. I found them quite delightful although I should add that they don't have the depth of Austen in terms of the social satire or wit. Good fun as romances though. (And "not as good as Austen" is rather praising with faint damns, if you see what I mean.)

4. I'm also working my way through The Game by Ken Dryden, which is a memoir about the author's last season in the NHL - he was the starting goalie for the Habs in an era where they won a BUNCH of Stanley Cups, and he retired at 31 when he was still an extremely good goalie (which although I don't have a real great sense of it I think is pretty unusual for hockey players generally). I'm struggling to remember if I've ever read a non-fiction book about sports before and I'm pretty sure I haven't. Anyway, it gives a whole lot of really interesting and entertaining information as well as being an interesting portrait of the dude himself and is pretty well-written on the whole (I'm having a bit of trouble with the way the tenses are structured, but I think this might be a formatting issue - I bought the Kindle version and I think possibly some paragraphs that should be indented or set aside aren't).

5. Other stuff I'm reading: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (nowhere near as captivating as Middlesex) and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (just started it, no opinion yet).

6. I was going to talk briefly about food but this post feels long already. What are you reading? How was your Christmas or other holiday? Isn't not having to go to work blissful, those of you who are on holiday still?
labellementeuse: Astrid Farnsworth giving Walter Bishop a judgy look (fringe astrid is judging you)
skyfall, briefly and exceedingly spoilery )

In other news I was in Auckland briefly and had a truly delightful time and it was so nice to see the Flat of Trolling and their associates. <3

I also got to spend some time with my brother, which was very nice because I don't see him that often (though to be honest I don't see the one who lives in Wellington that often, either). He's wrapping up his MSc, which is on something ferociously complicated to do with antibodies and lymph nodes. Wellington brother is applying for work as a music teacher (practical, not theory - I assume chiefly guitar and probably the usual musicianship stuff they do with small children, clapping games and marching to music and that kind of thing), for which he has no actual qualifications but at which he would be excellent. He's a talented and hard-working musician, good with kids, patient and doesn't lose his temper; I really hope he gets it.

My sister, the baby of the family, is about to turn 20 (well, in April) and it's ... honestly it's really kind of fun getting to know all of my siblings as adults, independent of each other. Sis and I went to Skyfall with the rents tonight and it was pretty nice to be able to sit there and chat and drink a glass of wine. We used to fight ferociously as kids and I remember my mother telling me, be good to your brothers and sister because they'll be your best friends when you're an adult, and I really laughed at her, but the older I get the more I'm grateful for them (although we still can fight pretty ferociously). (And not that I'd give up for a second the dear friends to whom I'm not related ...)
labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
First, a request: G/T (a local fancon for those of you from further locations) is coming up (*crowd goes wild*) and I offered to curate a vidshow themed around "Lord King Bad Vids". I might have fewer of these than I actually thought because some of my vid collection has gone missing somewhere, so I put the call out: what are your favourites? Any fandom, any pairing, any character, whatever you like.

Also, a meme.

Via a few people on my DW list:

Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, underline the ones you use at least once a month, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of. And (my suggestion) add any items that you have that aren't on the list:

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainersbamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags [actually I broke them all but I've not replaced them on the grounds that piping is not for me], banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses (it belongs to the flatmate and as far as I know no-one's ever used it), gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, apple corers, apple slicers, electric skillets, meat tenderizers, mortar and pestle, pastry blenders, french-fry cutters, waffle makers, candy thermometers, stick blenders and vegetable choppers [I am interpreting this as a mandolin] languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards?

I have a tiny kitchen but if I could own any of these (and would definitely use them though who knows where I'd put them): a full-on food processor, a pasta machine (I love making my own pasta but rolling out is a pain without a machine so I hardly do it), a salad spinner and an electric skillet. Also I'd really like a funnel but I don't know what a jam funnel is? Perhaps a metal funnel to avoid melting plastic? (Or would metal be reactive to the heat? IDK.)

ETA in the interest of full disclosure: the cookie press may actually belong to me. Um, oops. Apparently I bought one and forgot about it (it's also a icing gun and I think that's what I was trying for. It's a terrible icing gun, fwiw).

What the hell is a banana stand or a fluted pastry wheel?

Finally, I said this on twitter about a hashtag game earlier that I'd like to preserve:
What I really like about #kishi: As a fatty, and also as a woman, I'm constantly told by the TV, the radio, my mother, my father, my boss what it's acceptable for me to wear. If I can get up in the morning and try to approach my wardrobe with a spirit of adventure rather than with a spirit of shame, a spirit of what won't make me look fat today, what won't make my mother tell me seeing the shape of my body in jeans and a t-shirt makes people uncomfortable, what won't make my boss tell me my body is distracting - if instead I can think "what's fun? What's colourful? What expresses me and how I feel today? What would make me feel better about today?" or even just "what do I like about this comfortable favourite old slopping-around-home outfit", I'm going to. -- via

For context: Claudia Kishi is a character in a 90s-era pulp series about a Babysitters' Club. She is an artist and wears unusual outfits (very!) which are routinely described by other characters and by herself in breathless tones. Much use is made of words like "chunky", "oversize", "patterned" and "funky". Claudia *always* looks fabulous, even when wearing a burlap sack. A twitter buddy of mine started a hashtag game, #kishi, in which you tweet the outfit you're wearing as if you were Claudia. Trackpants and a t-shirt? "Oversized t-shirt and billowy pants". Preppiest outfit on the face of the planet? "Chunky pearl earrings and oversized shirt". I had an argument today with someone who described the game as "ludicrous vain faux-ironic hipster bullshit", someone who felt that it seemed like a contest. Now, I have some sympathy with people who would just generally prefer not to think about what they're wearing and find the game upsetting for that reason but that's not where he was coming from and it pissed me off and that's the context for that tweet.


labellementeuse: a girl sits at a desk in front of a window, chewing a pencil (Default)
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